DOHA, Qatar (AP) Barcelona great Xavi Hernandez will begin his coaching career with Qatari club Al-Sadd.
Al-Sadd says Xavi is taking charge of the team he helped become Qatari league champion this season.
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The 39-year-old midfielder played four seasons with Al-Sadd after a storied 17-year career with Barcelona.
Xavi played a club record 767 games for Barcelona and helped the club win four Champions Leagues and eight Spanish leagues. He also played in Spain’s title-winning teams at the 2010 World Cup and 2008 and 2012 European Championships.
Al-Sadd says Xavi’s squad will gather in Barcelona in July for a pre-season training camp in the Catalonia region.
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Xavi, who left Barcelona after 16 seasons with the Catalan club, started his career in Qatar with a bang as he scored a nifty free-kick in a 2-1 loss for his new club Al Sadd.
The 35-year-old played in his first match for his new club in a preseason friendly as the teams warm up for the upcoming top flight campaign. Al Sadd finished second last season, five points behind Lekhwiya for the championship.
Leaving Barcelona on a free transfer this summer after the expiration of his contract, Xavi signed a three-year deal with Al Sadd that is reportedly worth around $11.7 million per season.
The Qatari Stars League begins competitive play on September 11.